Officials say waterfowl hunting in Colorado will likely be harder because of drought conditions

A family of ducks floats on the surface of the water as green grasses line the background.
Makena Brendel/Courtesy photo

Although some parts of the state have returned to normal conditions, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are warning hunters that finding waterfowl may become more difficult.

Waterfowl production in Colorado during 2022 was likely variable and ranged from poor to average depending on local water and weather conditions, according to a news release from Parks and Wildlife. However, most ducks and geese in Colorado during the fall and winter seasons are migrants arriving from states to the north and Canada. 

Estimated mallard abundance was 7.2 million, 23% below the 2019 estimate of 9.4 million and 9% below the long-term average of 7.9 million.
Green-winged teal
The estimated abundance of green-winged teal was 2.2 million, 32% below the 2019 estimate of 3.2 million and similar to the long-term average.

Estimated abundance of gadwall was 2.7 million, 18% below the 2019 estimate but 30% above the long-term average.
Blue-winged teal
The 2022 estimate for blue-winged teal was 6.5 million, 9% above the 2019 estimate and 27% above the long-term average of 5.1 million.
American wigeon
Abundance estimates for American wigeon was 2.1 million, 25% below the 2019 estimate and 19% below the long-term averages of 2.6 million.

In winter 2021-22, waterfowl and other wild birds had widespread infections with new strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The department expects that infected waterfowl will be present in Colorado during the 2022-23 waterfowl seasons. 

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